Q: First, can you update us on the Chinese government and the Colombian government’s communication over the detention of a Chinese vessel? Second, Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin met with the former Myanmar Ambassador to China yesterday in Beijing. Is this the highest level contact between China and Myanmar since the clashes broke out in northern Myanmar?
A: I have answered your first question yesterday. The Chinese side is in contact with the Colombian side, and I have nothing more to add.
On your second question, we have released relevant information. Since the local conflicts ravaged northern Myanmar, the Chinese side has been in close communication with the Myanmar side through various channels. Director General Kong Xuanyou of the Department of Asian Affairs of China’s Foreign Ministry has given a full explanation of relevant specifics and China’s stance on northern Myanmar when taking an interview with the Xinhua News Agency on March 1. I’d like to reiterate that China always respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Myanmar. We hope that parties concerned in Myanmar can take measures to cool down the situation, and restore peace and stability to the border area as soon as possible. China is willing to move forward the peace process in northern Myanmar, and play a constructive role in restoring peace and stability to the border area as soon as possible in accordance with the will of the Myanmar side.
Q: Media reports say that China forbids the Myanmar citizens who have fled to China to stay in China any longer and asks them to return to Myanmar. Can you confirm this?
A: I think you are referring to the media reports that China has tightened control in the China-Myanmar border area. Some parts along the China-Myanmar boundary are still exposed to security risks given the influence of conflicts in northern Myanmar. The local authorities of China have issued a notice which provides specific orders on the flow of personnel and traffic in relevant areas in accordance with laws and regulations. This move aims to better maintain the social order of the border area and safeguard the security of people’s life and property. You may refer to the local government for the details of this notice.
We have said many times that following the fightings in northern Myanmar, China has provided necessary assistance and proper settlement to Myanmar citizens who fled to China on the basis of humanitarianism. We hope that fightings in northern Myanmar can come to an end, the security and order can be restored to the border area, and those Myanmar citizens who temporarily came to China out of security concerns can return to their homeland as soon as possible.
Q: US State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf once again expressed concerns over China’s formulation of the anti-terrorism law, saying that China should consult with the US government and industry in drafting the anti-terrorism law. What is China’s comment on this?
A: The Chinese side has expounded on its principled position on multiple occasions. Yesterday, spokesperson Fu Ying of the Third Session of the Twelfth National People’s Congress made an explicit reply to the considerations and principles about the anti-terrorism law legislation, underscoring the restrictive conditions on which relevant measures can be put into practice. First, relevant measures will only be used to prevent and investigate terrorist activities. Second, only public security and national security organs are entitled to exercise these measures. Third, adopting relevant measures must go through a strict approval process. These are in line with the principles of the administrative law and common practices of the world, and will by no means undermine the legitimate interests of Internet operators.
I’d like to emphasize that China’s formulation of anti-terrorism law is purely China’s domestic affairs. We are under no obligation to consult with other countries, and other countries have no right to ask China to do so. We hope that the US side can view China’s normal legislation in a right way.
Q: Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar embarked on a two-day visit to Pakistan on March 3. Media reports say that this is the first dialogue between the two countries since they halted the foreign-secretary-level talks in last August. How does China comment on this?
A: Both India and Pakistan are significant countries in South Asia. We welcome the positive signs showing the improvement of bilateral relations which we believe are of paramount importance to peace, stability and development of this region. The Chinese side will support the two sides in properly resolving relevant disputes through peaceful dialogue and improving bilateral relations as we always do.
Q: It is reported that the Colombo port city project in Sri Lanka has been suspended. Does Sri Lanka explain to China why this happens? What is China’s response to this? Will this affect China-Sri Lanka relations?
A: Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Samaraweera paid a visit to China from February 27 to 28 at the invitation of Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Foreign Minister Samaraweera said that Sri Lanka welcomes Chinese companies’ investment and development in Sri Lanka. The review conducted by the Sri Lankan side, which is not exclusive to China’s cooperation projects in Sri Lanka, aims to create a better investment environment. The Sri Lankan side will keep in close contact with the Chinese side on the review result of China-related cooperation projects. China understands and respects the efforts made by the new Sri Lankan government to improve the investment environment, and believes that the Sri Lankan side will properly resolve relevant problems and preserve Chinese companies’ confidence to invest in Sri Lanka in the overall interests of China-Sri Lanka friendliness and the fundamental interests of Sri Lanka’s national development.
Q: Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on March 4 that Japan once again lodged a protest with China over the English and Japanese versions of the Diaoyu Dao website and demanded it be removed. He said that China’s claims of being the first country to discover, name and use the island distort facts and can not be accepted. What’s China’s comment on this?
A: The Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands are China’s inherent territory based on full historical and legal evidences. You mentioned that the Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary can not accept China’s claims, I’d like to say that facts are facts, and the objective fact will not change whether the Japanese side is or is not willing to accept it. Relevant authority of China opens up this website to help people grasp a better understanding of the historical background and China’s consistent position about the Diaoyu Dao issue. China does not accept the unreasonable request of Japan, and once again urges Japan to look squarely at the history, respect facts and make constructive efforts to properly settle relevant issue.